I was embarrassed!
Patients who had just been released from the hospital’s psychiatric unit caught me red-handed. I was leading a group therapy session about how important it is to focus on the positive – what you want instead of what you do not want. I went on and on explaining that when we think negatively the neo-cortex part of our brains triggers neuro-chemical emotions which correspond to those thoughts.
I smoothly seque-wayed into explaining what the many symptoms of depression are. The patients had been listening, and stopped me and not so diplomatically pointed out I was focusing on the negative. Lesson learned! MY lesson learned.
The group decided that instead of learning symptoms of depression, they would create a list of symptoms of happiness.
Here’s their list:
Symptoms of Happiness
- Feeling good (or at least “decent”) most of the day, for two weeks or more.
- Eating an appropriate amount of food with good appetite.
- Sleeping well and awakening refreshed.
- Taking pleasure in most everyday activities and enjoying fun activities.
- Having a good energy level most of the day, every day, for two weeks or more.
- Having thoughts of fun or of good times to come.
- Being able to concentrate on the activity on hand.
- Feeling that one’s life matters.
- Able to exercise three times a week for half an hour, or more.
- Socialize in person or on the phone with 5 to 7 people each week. ( texting counts too)
- Laugh or at least smile every day.
How many happiness “symptoms” do you have?
(even one is a start).